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My long bike ride on Saturday left me feeling very encouraged and excited about my next phase of training for Ironman Lake Tahoe. Although it was great to ride longer than I have in almost two years, the reality is that I need to improve my bike to run transition if I’m to approach my goals for Ironman Lake Tahoe come September. It’s a reach goal, but if I execute my training and racing plans perfectly, a sub 4-hour marathon is not out of the question.

Never gets old.

Never gets old.

I’ve found that the secret to running fast(er) is to well – run fast. Long runs are undoubtedly important, but speed workouts and tempo runs really allow me to push the pace and get out of my comfort zone. Following a good week of stretching, some solid tempo efforts at track practice and my long ride, I was eager to throw down a big run on Monday morning before work.

I set out to run for 1:50-2:10 depending on how my legs felt on a beautiful sunny day in San Francisco. Once I realized that the wind was almost non-existent, I went straight for the bridge and decided to run to Sausalito and back – definitely uncharted territory before work.

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After shaking my morning grogginess, I settled into a comfortable marathon pace – 8:30, knowing that I could hold it for 2 hours. My plan was to average 8:30 until the final three miles and let it rip as long as my legs were still loose. I hit the hour mark with just over 7 miles in the books and enjoyed a beautiful morning from the other side of the bridge. Miles 7-9 were an uphill slog back to the Golden Gate, but I felt strong enough to push the pace and settled into my half marathon pace – 7:20 by mile 10. By the time I hit the gradual downhill on the span approaching San Francisco, I was moving comfortably in the low 7s and ended up logging miles 10-13.1 in 21:30. I ran a cool down mile for a new weekday PR – 14 miles before work!

Although Ironman Lake Tahoe is still over 4 months away, I’m feeling very encouraged by my progress, recovery, and long efforts this season. For now, I’ll proceed to eat everything in sight (as long as it’s dairy-free).